There was a short item from the Mohave Daily News on the further end of an era in the coal business. Mohave County, AZ, supervisors voted to approve an agreement to remove a coal-slurry pipeline that runs east to west across the county through Kingman, AZ, to Bullhead City. The Mohave County Airport Authority wants to build a new fire station at the Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport. A section of the pipeline runs under the runway and taxiway. The coal slurry once fueled the 1,580-MW Mohave Generating Station in Laughlin, NV, which was shut down on Dec. 31, 2005. Coal slurry at one point in time was going to be the answer to moving large volumes of coal without needing coal trains. This coal-slurry pipeline was 273 miles long, running from the Black Mesa Mine in northeastern Arizona to Laughlin. It operated from 1969 until 2005. Coal slurry was going to be the next great source of energy. But, like today’s hydraulic fracturing requirements, water issues led to its demise. The slurry was 50% coal and 50% water. It took a lot of water to move the coal. Now, the pipe is being removed. There might still be some shorter coal-slurry pipelines in operation in the U.S. and other countries. But the hype around coal slurry has faded. The problems with the lack of water and the emissions from burning coal have ended major use of that technology. At the opposite end of the energy spectrum is the exploration that is going on offshore Greenland. That work is just beginning. There have only been 14 wells drilled offshore Greenland and no commercial discoveries have been made. Cairn Energy has been at the forefront of these first exploration efforts offshore Greenland and have borne the brunt of the comments about the drilling program and the protests against the drilling from Greenpeace. It was interesting to read the various responses to the drilling program. One major news agency called the program a major failure. Greenpeace was crowing over the dry holes that were drilled. But, frontier areas are funny. If you watch how areas are developed, there is almost always a very long period with limited exploration success. The Falklands Islands are an example of this. Only fairly recently have the companies in that region begun to have exploration success. If you remember some of the first Arctic exploration, then the Mukluk well offshore Alaska stands out as the most expensive wildcat ever drilled at that time. Another famous duster was the first well drilled in the Destin Dome offshore Florida. Although the drilling efforts could be considered failures, those wells taught the oil companies how to find oil and gas. Every frontier region is different and you don’t always find the best way to uncover resources in the first well you drill. Today, with the advent of 3D seismic and other technological advances, the industry can find prospects with more certainty. It is always funny to read articles by folks that are not familiar with the industry. Just from the seismic, they can tell you exactly how much oil and gas will be found. However, you don’t know what is in the formation until you start turning to the right. What worked in the Gulf of Mexico didn’t work in the North Sea. It would be good for all those naysayers to remember that the industry drilled 35 wells in the central North Sea before it learned how to find oil and gas. Greenland is only getting started. Contact the author, Scott Weeden, at sweeden@hartenergy.com.